Archive for February, 2016

i have seen some goofy audio tech, but this…

Apparently, sometime in the 1980s, TEAC – a legitimate, major, respected maker of audio gear – thought it would be a great idea to combine reel-to-reel loading technology with audiocassette frames.

Yes, it’s a compact audiocassette where you load the reels individually. And you can swap them out! I AM NOT EVEN MAKING THIS UP LOOK AT IT THIS IS LUDICROUS:

The selling point was presumably size of the little mini-reels vs. size of an entire cassette frame. But… honestly, how did this ever make it to market? Particularly given what a pain in the ass it is to actually load into a cassette frame and use. Watch the video, it’s pretty much hilarious.

wanting to go to another planet, but in a good way

These NASA JPL solar system and exoplanet travel posters are pretty wonderful. Downloadable print-resolution versions (most in PDF, a couple TIFF only) are up there as well, poke around and you’ll find them. I’m thinking I’ll print a few out on a good printer and get a frame and rotate through them.

Some days when you say you wish you could just go to another planet, it’s just because you saw a really cool tourism poster.


it’s tax prep weekend and how can this be true?

It’s tax prep weekend! Well, for us at the Lair, anyway. So that’s where I’ll be for the next few days.

There is a good part: you stumble across fun reminders, like receipts for cosplay supplies, mixed in with all the boring things. They’re little happy moments. ^_^

(What, you don’t think supervillains pay taxes? Damn right we do. We’re not stupid. That’s how they got Capone, and unlike some people I could mention, some of us can learn from history.)

A disturbing related stat I read last night: 75% of the iTunes music library has never been downloaded. Not ever, not even once. I’m… kind of disturbed by that. Whenever I get discouraged, I should remember this number, because hey, apparently I’m at least ahead of 75% of bands who have managed to get albums recorded and online.

And I don’t even put my free tracks on iTunes, because y’can’t! iTunes is pay only! (But you can get the new free/tip jar single, “Thirteen,” off Bandcamp just fine right now. ^_^) So I guess that’s something.

Anyway, back to sorting zillions of little pieces of paper, all alike. See you next week!


Am I actually getting visits (and some plays) from users on Baidu, or is this just some sort of confusing player behaviour? Because all these are Bandcamp stats and they super-vague.

I’d assume it’s just odd behaviour but it’s all very recent and Baidu isn’t exactly new. Anyway, hello China? Maybe? ^_^

mixolydian is not a superman reference

Played around a bit more with the spider capo last night, re-creating that E-based partial-capo configuration I described yesterday.

It really seems to like mixolydian scales. Here’s a quick recording of some chordal scale noodling, playing with both myxolydian and true minor. (Mono, raw mp3.) I don’t honestly know whether “it” means the capo or the chording created by the capo in this specific usage, though I of course suspect the latter.

I got less fretwear buzz last night mostly through fiddling, but I still need to get those frets replaced. There’s no way around it.

is this where battlestar galactica got started

Okay, so Battlestar Galactica, right? The excellent reboot which was a remake of the Glen Larson 1970s better-than-first-impression demi-classic. Mormonism plus Ancient Astronauts = Space Apocalypse and/or Space Adventures, depending.

I’ve never really studied how far back that whole Ancient Astronauts bullshit goes, because I have better things to do with my life, but I stumbled across something today. Could this bit of I-can-see-how-you-get-there-but-wow nuttiness from the March 1961 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact be the starting point?

The article is called “The Four-Faced Visitors of Ezekiel,” and its thesis is that they were not so much angels as space travellers, misinterpreted. Only it’s not really billed as fiction, it’s more of a “what if?” kind of piece.

Searching around for more about the “Ezekiel” author, I found this blog post from a “UFO Investigator” which talks about how you can draw a straight line from Jack Kirby’s comic book character, “Metron,” to this very article in Analog. Halperin asserts Metron is Metatron – which I think we all have to agree is the most Kirby name ever invented for an angel, but that’s beside the point – with the serial numbers filed off, and points at the similarities in drawings between the article and the comics.

So – Analog Science Fiction and Fact (1961) to Jack Kirby’s Metron (1971) to Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods (who even cares get out of here you hack) to Glen A. Larson’s Battlestar Galactica (1978) and BSG (2007)? Is this a thing?

And if so, does Neon Genesis Evangelion belong in here too?

I don’t even know.

spider capo, spider capo, does whatever a spider capo does

Up late playing with a spider capo, a capo that lets you capo strings on a per-string basis. It’s fun. I have found an E-heavy partial-capo configuration (yes E again I am into E lately do not mock me) that I am really enjoying.

The only downside so far is that I know a couple of my frets need replacing because they’re worn down, and it hasn’t been a big deal in normal playing yet, but it’s a much bigger deal when using the spider. “beautiful dreamy sounds hypnotising my test subjects” “aw yea Esus2 is my mind control jam” [SUDDEN BEE NOISE] GODDAMMIT FRET WEAR WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!

I don’t think I should really need to replace frets so often. Every couple of years just seems excessive, but idk, maybe that’s normal? I just hate losing the zouk while it’s being worked on, particularly since I don’t exactly have a second one. Sometimes I think I should be talking about that with a luthier – I mean, it’s not like production zouks are thick on the ground, I mean, I know of two and I have the better one, so if I want to do something about that, I’ll have to.

But that way lies guitar collector madness and also did I mention the necessary dump trucks full of money? No? Well, that’s how that works.

stupid dump trucks. stupid money.

6mm rubik’s cube

See, this is the kind of thing that would send me into a killing spree. It’s assembly of a 6mm-wide Rubik’s Cube. I was dimly aware of Rubik’s Cube Fandom, which make their own insane rotational iterative puzzles, each more complicated than the next, some the size of basketballs, but I wasn’t also aware that there was a competition for smallest.

Seriously, it’d be heat ray time for EVERYONE, I get antsy just watching it be assembled. But I still think it’s awfully neat and hey, go you, obsessive rotational puzzle fandom, go you:

ps: This may be the final day of posts using the Social distributor/comment collector. I’m kind of hoping that they leave the proxy app running and just take the plugin offline on the site. I doubt it, but hey, I can hope. Again, if you have suggestions for replacements, tell me about it – thanks.

give this board a proper power supply

Give this little Class-T amplifier a proper power supply, which I’ve finally done, and suddenly it’s MADE OF LOUD.

Yes, these are the monster stage monitors that I blogged about rebuilding before. But they’re still “passive” mains, which is to say, they need external amplification – like essentially all concert gear before about 15 years ago.

What I’m doing here is spending $23 (holy crow $23?!) each on bare-board Class T amplifiers, and $26 each on high-quality 24 volt power supplies, and making them into active monitors. This will let them be useful with modern mixers, which tend to not include amplification, expecting that to be bundled into the speakers themselves.

Being me, of course, I’ll leave the old-style functionality exposed. So they’ll be usable with both old and new-style gear.

Funny thing is, these monitors… they were famously terrible, but at this point, they’ve become actively pleasant to listen to. I’m doing an extended power test of the amp and power supply right now, and I’m staying in the room and listening to it on purpose, because hey, why wouldn’t I?

I know where the beat is at,
‘cos I know what time it is
fishin’ in the rivers of life


This post is part of a series on restoring infamous vintage stage monitors. Spoiler: they made good, in the end.

one of my most important plugins is going away

Social, which echoes posts between the band blog and several social media sites, and – even more importantly really – consolidates comments back so people can actually find them all, is losing support in I think three more days.

That wouldn’t be so bad because I’m happy maintaining my own code bases, but it relies on some sort of back-end intermediary, and they’ve been ignoring my requests to release that code so we can try to run it ourselves. They haven’t said no, they’ve just said nothing.

I’ve been trolling through the plugins site looking for a replacement, and I’m not seeing anything. This is kind of terrible, to be honest – my readership isn’t bad but most people who comment comment on Facebook and Twitter rather than using the comment system, here, which makes the blog look dead without that comment consolidation.

So… have I missed something? Do solutions exist? It’d be nice if solutions existed. Particularly for the comment consolidation. I don’t mind reposting manually if that’s what needs to happen, but wow I will miss that comment collection. I’ll miss it a lot.

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